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Archive for October – 2010 – Mommy of Many®

Archive for October, 2010


October 30, 2010

At midnight I was fast asleep but was woken to talking next to my bed. Talking that I started answering. It was one of the girls. Huh? It’s late. Huh? Wait! I stumbled out of the bed in the dark, over to the light switch. I had to see what I thought I was hearing. Kateri?! Kateri! She started laughing at me and told me that JJ was in the kitchen. I went running out and sure enough! They were both standing in my house! What? Who? How?

They are here until Monday and then they both head back. What a surprise!

I got up early, went to Starbucks for coffee (and to surprise my sister with the sight of Kateri) and then came home and have been working away like a busy lil bee. It’s funny the mode I go into when everyone is home. I’m instantly a better cook, better cleaner, better M.O.M. I whipped up a lunch of grilled chicken sandwiches, with all the fixins (grilled onions included) for 12. It seems that whenever Kateri and JJ are home, the house becomes full of guests, the table becomes full of game playing, music playing, song singing, hungry folks. I love it! I LOVE a full house! I LOVE to entertain! I love putting out the food and having a ton of people show up to eat it! Somehow time stops a little bit while they’re here and we manage to grab ahold of extra moments. I don’t know how to explain it, but I’ll take it!


Me and Kateri enjoying the feel of the ocean air today

My sister and her roommate joined Kateri and I for coffee and a walk to the beach

JJ posed for a picture before he headed out for a haircut

Doing the Dance of the Children and Enjoying Them All~

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Today’s M.O.M. Moments

October 29, 2010

What a full day!

The kids woke up early and were anxious to get on their costumes and get to school for the carnival. I ended up with 4 Sailor Scouts, Superman, a Mad Scientist and Mark Surge-A Lego Hero Factory Character and I was Minnie Mouse.



Everyone had a great and tiring time at the carnival and I want to say THANK YOU to our good friend, Maria for making the girls’ costumes! Over the years, she’s made so many costumes and dresses for my kids that she deserves a public round of applause!

My high schoolers collaborated with friends and they dressed the part of the Sailor Scouts and Tuxedo Mask, from Sailor Moon.


Everyone was so cute!

When I left the preschool carnival and took Luke-Xavier over to the big carnival at the main school, I started to look around for Gabi. I wondered if she’d be ok, wandering around and checking out all the booths. All the kindergartners were over there, but I was just nervous that she may not find what she wanted to do, or know to go get her drink and snack, etc. After I stood in line with Luke-Xavier for a few games, I finally saw Gabi. She was with Tristan (my 5th grader) and a couple of his friends. Tristan was holding her gloves and goodie bag for her and they were all making sure she had gotten her snack and that she was having fun at all the games. I was so impressed and proud! These 11 yr old boys were kindly helping a 6 yr old girl and when they saw me, they didn’t run over and ask me to please take her, because they’d been taking her and could they please just go around together now and not have her tagging along! It was one of those parenting moments where you know your kids are going to be ok. That somehow all the times you’ve gotten after them for being mean to each other or not helping each other have actually made an impression on how they think. Not once did Gabi come looking for me or did the boys walk away from her! Everyone had a great time.
After we got back from the carnival and picking up the high schoolers, I asked if I could, please lie down for 1/2 an hour. About 10 minutes into my rest came *knock, knock, knock*. It was Gabi. Very calmly, she said, “Lex is playing with fire”. When I opened the bedroom door, I could smell that something was burning (or had been burnt). Sure enough, there was paper on the floor that was completely blackened and there was a scorch mark on the floor! I told Gabi that this was EXACTLY the right time to tattle!

I had a talk with Lex and this was his 4 year old thinking-”I caught the paper on fire and I tried to blow it out, but it kept coming. So I thought I needed water, but I couldn’t reach it and I knew I needed to yell out for an adult, but I thought I’d get in trouble”. I pointed out that he ended up in trouble anyway and that whenever there’s trouble or something scary that he needs to “yell out” for someone.


Doing the Dance of the Children and Feeling Proud of Gabi and Tristan’s Decisions~

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My Glass Was 1/2 Full

October 26, 2010

It really is all in how you look at things~

For a little more than a month now, I’ve been on the quest to get my license renewed. I logged in online, created an account and tried to get it done the quick and easy way. But my computer froze up and I ended up locked out of the account. Then I got off work, packed up my 4 year old, got in the line that was out the building and stood in the sun for more than an hour, only to be told that the DMV’s computers had gone down and they weren’t giving out any numbers. A week later I tried again and (imagine THIS), was AGAIN told that the computers were down and that no numbers would be given out.

I was completely exasperated by the whole ordeal. My license was looming over me and was driving me to an anxious panic! So, once again, I got off work (this time I didn’t have to bring along the 4 yr old) and headed over, with fingers crossed, a prayer whispered and all the positive thoughts I could muster up.

It worked!

When I arrived, the line was, indeed, out-the-door, but it was moving! So I stayed put and about 1/2 hour later I was at the front of the line to get my paperwork, a number and a seat. I was # G210 and they were on #G127. But who cared?! I had a book, my phone and a number! At one point a woman complained about waiting 2 hours, to which I said, “this is my 4th try and I don’t care how long it takes, I’m just happy to have a number!”. A man who was sitting nearby, leaned over and said, “so you’re glass is 1/2 full today?!”. I said that it certainly was!

Isn’t it funny that it’s all about our perception? If this had been my 1st attempt to renew my license and I was sitting there for 3 hours, I would have probably been antsy, anxious and perturbed. But because it was my 4th attempt and I actually made it into the building, I was completely happy to sit there for as long as it took.

I’m hoping to let this be a lesson to my impatient self!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Remembering That There’s Always a Reason to See the Glass as 1/2 Full~

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Early Morning Peace

October 24, 2010


I’m normally an early riser but on the weekends I usually let myself stay in bed until 5:30 or 6. But this morning, my body woke me up at 4 and told me I wanted to get up, think and stretch. An odd thing for me. But I didn’t fight it. I got up, brushed my teeth, made the coffee and went to the living room to stretch my body and listen to my thoughts. Huh. This led into a feeling of peacefulness. Huh. So I walked through the house, listening to the quiet of everyone sleeping while I drank my coffee. I sat down at my computer and read and continued to feel peaceful.

Then I let my”self” get in the way. I started to think, “I must DO something with all this wonderful peacefulness”. “I shouldn’t  just waste this great feeling of peace by sitting in it”. I’m trying to tell my”self” to shhhhh and just “be”.  Not an easy task for a woman who’s been in constant motion for most of my 39 years on this earth.

So now, I’ll start the regular day and I’ll keep a piece of this morning tucked inside me to draw from as I move through the busyness of my daily life. I’m not sure what my mind and body were telling me this morning, but I had an hour of it before I let my inability to just “be” get in the way. Not bad!

A peaceful Sunday to each of you~

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Happy Birthday Gabi-girl!

October 23, 2010

Gabriella Elise Lang is 6 yrs old today! The years have passed so quickly!

Here’s a little trip from down Memory Lane-

even more cropped Jen at the beach 3

Soon before Gabi’s arrival into the world


Kateri, watching me give birth to lil Gabi

baby Gabi 045

Newborn Gabi-girl, heading home from the hospital. I hadn’t had a girl in 8 years and was excited to be buying pink again!


Gabi today, happy with her new umbrella.

Happy Birthday beautiful lil Gabi! You have so much life ahead of you! We’re happy you’re here and love you SO MUCH!

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My Kiddos Sure Say the Dandest Things!

October 21, 2010

Here are 2 examples of how my kiddos keep me chuckling each day.

I was out with Lex today and we were winking at each other. I was showing him that you can try to do one eye and then the other. He was only able to do the one, but would try with the other eye, by using his hand to close his eye. I asked him if he knew what we were doing was called. He says, “Yeah, flashing”.

I promise I wasn’t teaching my son to flash!
Gabi had her 1st field trip today. When she got in the car, I asked her all about it. Then I asked who she rode with. She said, “Salvatore’s mom drove me”. Max says, “Who’s this Salvatore you speak of?”.

LOL! These kiddos keep me smiling!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Trying to Figure out Where They Come Up With Some of This Stuff~

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Life Skills 101

October 20, 2010

Sometimes you come to a place where you clearly understand your strengths and your weaknesses. Tonight was one of those times.

I opened an email from my 2nd grader’s room mom that said that they were looking for people to offer up their talents to the kids. We could come in and spend an hour teaching the kiddos anything from games to cooking. “Yippee!” was my first thought. But quickly, I started wondering what the heck I could teach 2nd graders. *Think, think, think* I’ve had 6, 2nd graders before now. What have I taught them? What have I brought to their little lives that would be fun and inspiring to teach kiddos that don’t live under my roof?

Let’s see…all of my 7 and 8 yr olds knew how to-properly brush their teeth, lay out their uniforms for the next day, put their laundry away, clear their places at the table, unload the silverware from the dishwasher, play outside with a younger sibling, read to themselves or a sibling, unload their laundry basket in the laundry room, find a pair of socks in the sock bag/basket, put away 25 toys in the playroom, get all the trash out of the van/car, get the mail, unload groceries from the car, entertain a younger sibling, run a bath, wash their faces, say their prayers, offer something up for the good of something bigger than themselves, take a trash bag out of the bathroom/kitchen and reline the can, switch milk from the freezer to the fridge if the milk in the inside fridge is being used up, boil water for hot cereal or top ramen, bring a diaper and wipes to me or Dad or an older sibling and dispose of the used diaper, make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, make a Nutella sandwich, open a yogurt, pour milk, make a glass of ice water, pull a chair up to the counter to get a snack/paper/pens/crayons…,

Ok, you get the idea. I realized that what I’ve taught my kids is how to be self-sufficient when they need to be. They will not go hungry, naked or terribly bored. But then I had to pause to think of what FUN things I’ve taught them. Surely I haven’t just taught them how to work. Surely they know how to PLAY!

:-) Oh yeah, they know how to have fun! They know how to appreciate some music, tell a joke, make a scavenger hunt, fill an entire street with sidewalk chalk drawings, roll down a hill, pretend, make up a song…

But how do you translate those things into something to teach OTHER children? How do you give others a love of the ocean, an appreciation for seeing where ants will lead you, for digging until you can’t dig anymore?!

Wow! I guess what I’m best at giving my kids isn’t how to knit, speak a foreign language, make origami pets or play an instrument. What I’ve given my kiddos is Life Skills! Now that I’ve realized my strength, my THING, how the heck do I give it to a classroom?!

Tell me what you would teach your child’s classroom. We all have special talents (even if we find it hard to identify them). What’s yours? I had one mom suggest I teach them what it’s like to be blind or sight impaired. I liked her ideas. What are yours?

Doing the Dance of the Children and Trying to Make it Fun~

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A Mommy of Many™ Recipe-Roasted Brussel Sprouts

October 19, 2010

Yep! Roasted Brussel Sprouts. I’d never tried to do them before, but after I brought home a whole stalk of brussel sprouts from Trader Joes, yesterday, I decided that’s what I would do with them. I sure am glad! I’ll be doing these more often!


I brought the stock home, broke off the amount of sprouts I wanted to use (starting at the bottom of the stalk), washed them, removed any yellowing leaves, cut them in half, laid them in a rectangular, stone pan, drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar on them, crushed 3 cloves of garlic over them, sprinkled with sea salt and roasted them for 45 minutes at 500. Yum! Next time I’ll roast for 60-75 mins, so they’re a little crisper on the outside.

So…the recipe is;

Preheat oven to 500

2 lbs brussel sprouts
1/4 cup Olive Oil
4 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
a sprinkling of Sea Salt

Wash sprouts. Cut them in 1/2 and lay them in a 9×13 baking pan. Drizzle with the olive oil. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Crush the cloves of garlic over the top of the sprouts. Sprinkle with sea salt. Toss until all sprouts are covered.

Place in your preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour, turning sprouts in the pan every 15 minutes.


Oh! If you have unused sprouts that are still on the stalk, store them in water.


Doing the Dance of the Children and Getting Them to Eat Their Sprouts~

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October 17, 2010

I not only have a big family, but I also come from a big family. I have 7 sisters, 1 brother and about a million aunts, uncles and cousins. Many of my extended family members live close enough to each other that they see each other and interact with each other’s families on a regular basis. Being a military family, we have, mostly, lived far from any family and have only in the last few years, been able to say that there was any family nearby.

There’s something about Sunday that makes me really miss having everyone near. I wish we could come home from church and know that family was gonna roll in throughout the day, cooking, visiting, even disagreeing.


On another note-

We had a great time at Oma’s Pumpkin Patch (as always!). I was surprised at how crowded it was. We’ve been visiting for the last 7 years and apparently the word has gotten out about what a great deal ($7 for each child, includes a water bottle, hayride, small pumpkin and all the fun around the play area and each adult is free with a paying child) and how much fun it is! We stayed for about 2 hours, saw a newborn calf, petted some goats, sheep and calves, played in the hay maze, enjoyed the hay ride, had fun on the cotton seed slide and took a ton of pictures. We brought 4 friends along and had a great time!

everyone on the hayride

Tristan petting a goat

Max and a calf

Tristan maneuvering down the cotton seed slide

Me with all the kiddos after they had picked their pumpkins

My favorite picture of the day! Leave it to Lex to turn a rocking cow into a motorcycle!

Now, to tackle this Sunday, 2 soccer games, grocery shopping, church and all!

Doing the Dance of the Children on a Sunday~

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It’s Time for a Visit to the Pumpkin Patch

October 16, 2010


For the last 7 or so years, I’ve been gathering up the kiddos and taking them to Oma’s Pumpkin Patch on the Van Ommering Dairy Farm. We are particularly partial to this pumpkin patch because it was introduced to us by a neighbor who knows the Van Ommering family. Every year the kids look forward to the cotton seed slide, the baby animal petting area and the hay ride.

I love Fall and I love little traditions! You can bet there will be plenty of pictures to share!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Looking Forward to a Day of Fall Fun~

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A Mommy of Many™ Review-Burn the Floor

October 13, 2010


Burn the Floor!

From beginning to end, this was a great, fast paced, smooth flowing show! The dancers were fantastic! Watching their energy and incredible dancing had me wanting to leave the show and find the first place I could sign up for swing dancing lessons. Admittedly, my 2 favorite parts of the show were the jive, swing, boogie portion and when they performed to Proud Mary. Let me say here, that Vonzell (you may remember her as the 2nd runner up in the 4th season of American Idol) rocked Proud Mary in a way that would make Tina Turner proud! Her rich, soulful voice was a pleasure to hear throughout the show.

I suppose I need to admit that Proud Mary was my favorite portion. I was stunned by Mary Murphy’s high-energy, booty-shakin’ part in the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, she came out and gracefully showed off her ballroom talents on several occassions, but she brought a smile to my face with the way she pulled it out for Proud Mary!

The whole show was fantastic! Music, vocals, dancing, costumes, choreography-all made for a fun evening! If you get the chance to go, DO!  The Show is in San Diego through Oct. 17th!  I took my 16 yr old with me and she enjoyed it just as much as I did. As a matter-of-fact, she was on YouTube looking up all the dancers and clips from the show. I think that speaks volumes!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Humming Proud Mary While I Have Visions of Swing Dancing to All That Great Music~

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I Am Feelin’ Lucky!

October 12, 2010

Here are 3 reasons I think I should buy a Lottery ticket-

1) Last week my business card was pulled from a large glass container that sits on the counter at Champagne, in the Del Mar Highlands, as the winner of a pastry basket. Today it was delivered to my door by Janel, their Catering Coordinator.



All 12 of those yummy pastries were promptly gobbled up by my family. I tried a bit of 2 of them and they were GOOD!

Thanks Champagne and Janel! We will be sure to visit you again soon!

2) Last week I ALSO won a gift basket from Popcornopolis! It should be arriving in the next day or two and I can’t wait to share it! (ok, that’s a lie. I’d rather hide it and eat the entire thing myself, but I know I will enjoy watching my family and coworkers enjoy all the delicious popcorn that will be in there and have DECIDED that I will share). Since several people were helpful in my winning of this contest, I am looking forward to letting some of them enjoy the spoils too :-) . If you’re not *Lucky* enough to win a gift basket from them, you can still try their delicious popcorn by visiting their website, being adventurous with the flavors and ordering some!


I don’t know exactly what my gift basket will include, but I know it’s going to be good!

3) Tomorrow night I get to attend the San Diego opening night of Burn the Floor! I’m taking my 16 yr old, Mariah, with me and looking forward to the evening with her! Not only have I been invited to see the show and write a review, but I was able to share the fun with YOU and now one of my readers and her daughter also get to enjoy the evening! Good Stuff!

If those 3 reasons aren’t enough to be feelin’ lucky, I’m not sure what are!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Thinking of Buying a Quick Pick~

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Monday, Monday

October 11, 2010

The house is quieter than usual on this Columbus Day, Monday morn. My highschoolers have the day off, so I don’t have to make the rounds of waking them. The little kids have school and I have work, but the lunches were made last night and since I don’t have to rush into the shower before the girls run for it, I can take a few extra minutes to enjoy my cup of coffee and talk about this week ahead.

Tomorrow night I’m taking Mariah with me to Burn the Floor. I thought it would be fun to do that together. These girls of mine are getting older and I better start grabbing what time I can! As I’ve seen with Kateri and JJ being out of the house, once they’re out, the moments together are few and far between. I’m really looking forward to the show and I think Mariah will love it!

Clay let me know that he’ll be leaving, tomorrow, for the rest of the week for a job interview. This means I’ll be juggling the driving and the schedules for the rest of the week, but I’m pretty darn good at that.

Mariah is hoping to get her permit this week and is planning on spending Wednesday at the DMV to make it happen. *Fingers Crossed*

Other than that, I’m hearing lots of chatter from the kids about A) Gabi’s upcoming birthday. She keeps making big plans that I won’t be fulfilling. B) Halloween-My girls have big plans for their costumes, that I won’t announce, but it sounds like it’s going to be a really fun idea. Our amazingly talented friend, Maria Holek (naming her because she deserves rounds and rounds of applause) is making their costumes and I know they’ll be awesome! C) Homecoming. I have 3 girls in high school together. I believe they are all going to Homecoming. I’m very proud of them for the fact that they’ve rummaged through the closets and pulled out the million dresses we already have in this house and are seeing who can wear what. Good job girls!

That’s about it or at least that’s the stuff that’s sitting in the front of my brain right now. I guess I better get myself motivated even though I don’t have to rush for my turn in the shower. I was just thinking how God prepares you for things. When I was a kid and had to get up early to make sure I got my turn in the shower (which I always wanted before everyone else was up), I couldn’t have known that I’d go on into adulthood and have to revisit that same habit.

Doing the Dance of the Children and Not Rushing it Today~

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An Update on JJ-Because Inquiring Minds Want to Know

October 10, 2010


JJ, Clayton-as his school friends know him, has been gone since the beginning of August and has been on one adventure after another. He left in August for France to work with a family for about 3 weeks. From there he headed to Portugal where he spent about 3 more weeks visiting and sightseeing with my sister, Bridget, who lives there. His plan from there was to head to Rome, but one morning I received a text from Bridget asking if he had made it to Chicago alright. Chicago?! Apparently he had changed his plans and was heading back to the states. He made his way back to St. Gregory’s Academy, where he’s been working, working out with the soccer team and enjoying the camaraderie that is found there. I know he has some plans to roam around a little more before he ends up back in San Diego, but I don’t know exactly what they are. He will surely be back before the end of November when Clay is retiring (we will talk more about that at another time). But for now, he’s happily enjoying some time to just BE.

Gabi-her arm is fine. Lex pushed her off the trampoline and she complained about the arm for a couple of days, but it’s just sore, no breaks.

Mariah-She hasn’t had any more scary episodes of fainting. She will be seeing the neurologist on the 15th for a follow-up.
Heck, I might as well give an update on each of the kiddos

Kateri-She’s back at school, working and has been singing for masses. She is truly a Starving Student and your prayers for her to meet all of her financial needs without too much stress are appreciated.

Arianna-is playing tennis and loving her Freshman year. She’s really become a wonderful student and I’m so impressed with how on top of her schedule she is!

Maddi-is enjoying her Freshman year and has started to voice her dislike of babysitting her siblings.

Tristan-is in 5th grade and looking forward to joining the school band and is an excellent student.

Max-is in 2nd grade and isn’t hating school as much as he did last year. His teacher is wonderful and is working hard with him. He’s got all of the ability and none of the drive.

Lex-is in 4yr old preschool and doing well. He’s still, very much, my baby and has pledged to sleep in my bed for the rest of his life. Truly the baby!

Well, that’s it from around here. Yes, we have some other big things coming up, but we can talk about them as they come.

Doing the Dance of the Children, One Day at a Time~

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A Beautiful Saturday

October 9, 2010

It was a truly beautiful day in so many ways. Visually, you couldn’t have asked for better. It was in the 80′s and the sky was completely clear and sparkling blue. I got to start the day off on the beaches of Coronado, with the Del on one side and North Island/Point Loma on the other. Truly gorgeous! I challenged my body with a Beach BootCamp workout by Kraze BootCamps and remembered how good it feels (once it’s over) to work so hard. Then I came home, worked in the house, ran errands, made dinner, enjoyed the company of my kiddos, my sister and a couple friends, a couple glasses of wine & a good dinner while the candles burned and the sound of my kids rang through the house.

This is an example of a BEAUTIFUL day!

Doing the Dance of the Children and Soaking in the Good Stuff~

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